It is time to join the Oklahoma Chicken Fight for Water and our Future. You can begin right away.

I grew up with parents who enjoyed time together. But every so often they would Rooster Fight. Each would pull a bent arm up close to their body and then flap it a time or two before the "fight" began. It never seemed like a real fight because they both began to laugh and it was over practically before it began. It was my kind of chicken fight.

But what we have happening right now is a Chicken Fight on a much larger scale and no one is laughing. It is just now reaching Ottawa County, but our sister counties are covered with trouble already.

It is time to join the Oklahoma Chicken Fight for Water and our Future. You can begin right away. No one has to know you have joined. You can start in your very own house, or on your break at work. Make a decision to do something. That phrase, see something, say something, that was made for us. Go in your kitchen, turn on the tap, see the water? Want to keep seeing water you can drink? Then, yes, say something about it.

Who will you tell? You can start with your household members and they can pass it on. We can inform the people we know that water and a healthy future is at stake.

Then what? Tell every local elected official you are concerned and you want them to speak up. Every local tribal elected leader. They all respect our Mother Earth and know Water is Life. Call the next layer of elected officials, the Governor and everyone running for Governor. Call the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry James Reese and each of his board members. Good start. Then call every other agency that has something to do with water in the State of Oklahoma, and by all means call the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

Many of us learned to write letters while we were in 5th grade and because of email and texting, we probably haven't written one since, but this would be a great time to start. Write all of those folks you called, as a follow-up. Just like in texting, use ALL CAPS SO THEY KNOW YOU ARE SERIOUS. And you really could TEXT most of them too, without a stamp.

The dirt is being moved on new chicken houses south of Miami. Each of these BIG ones are 3 football fields long. Some of us can't even walk that far without getting winded. But once they come in getting winded could happen quick for folks you know who already have asthma and COPD. We could care about them and the air we breathe. We could protect the air quality and speak up for it to all those folks you contacted about the water quality.

Ottawa County has paid her dues, providing the lead for both World Wars and having the land left like it was the war zone. She dutifully provided jobs for breadwinners with BF Goodrich which now sits abandoned like a second warzone with fears of asbestos and Benzene beneath the ground nearby. Ottawa Countians have had generations of our youth lead poisoned and their potential and our communities' hopes for their futures dampened. All that heavy metal dust has fairy dusted all of us ensuring many lives have been lost years before their expected expiration dates. Tar Creek got hit in 1979 and has been the blight we want to forget as she runs silently past us and dumps her load of metals into the Neosho out of sight, just past the boat ramp in Riverview Park.

We are a Superfund Site with her name. We are a damaged place. Every resident in the county can have the soil they live upon tested for lead because it could have been spread and been long forgotten. But lead does not sleep, it will not cease having the power to harm children, no matter how long it lays there. It must be removed.

And now we will have another industrial disaster come upon this land and her people. Another disaster that can harm our environment and suck water right out from under us. Chickens love water, just like you do. And when you have 300,000 chickens per house and 6 going in right away, you might want to add in your message that you want our Roubidoux to remain drinkable, the tap water you drink is at risk. Why?

It goes back to mining days, when they mined the Boone aquifer, and when they quit, water filled those abandoned caverns where it brewed into a Toxic Tea, not like J-M Farms Toxic Tea compost nutrient rich water that got loose and ran into Tar Creek this summer and killed fish. No, this Toxic Tea is loaded with heavy metals, and when the caverns got full it has flowed down Tar Creek ever since. The Roubidoux lies beneath the Boone and if lots of water is pulled from the Roubidoux, the Boone will try to fill it, and if it does, it can contaminate that tap water you like. Lots of chickens can drink lots of water millions of gallons per house quickly. So be quick with your letters, calls, texts. Very quick. It's your chicken fight now.

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim

Rebecca Jim is the executive director of the LEAD Agency (www.leadagency.org).